I write to keep me sane. I write so that my words may outlive my life. I write to find redemption

Thursday, November 08, 2007



Hello everyone. Here is the latest installment of my 3WW
continuing story. If you want to catch up, read:

part one
part two

Rock Bottom Part Three

Note to self: Never again make a death bed promise to anyone.

Of course, when that person is your mother, it is kinda hard to refuse. Still, Eric wouldn’t be out in my living room, in his grungy street person clothes, if I hadn’t promised to always look out for him. But I am the younger brother, so what do I really owe him?

I mean I was supposed to look up to him, and I did. He played baseball in high school, so I worked hard to make the team myself. Though I was always in his shadow, having to hustle twice as hard for half the glory. Then he was off to college and, when I graduated, no one but the trade schools would let me in unless I took a full year’s worth of courses without credit to compensate for my lack of academic achievement in high school. I didn’t have Eric’s brains or looks or charm. No one called me a modern day Jimmy Stewart. Eric hit the gene pool jackpot and still managed to waste it all away.

While, here I am, working freaking overtime to keep my head above water and the loan sharks off my ass. The gambling used to be just for fun- a few hours on the boats or the computer, make a couple thousand and get out. Being good and lucky at poker- about the only thing I ever did excel at- made me just cocky enough to think I could run the tables in Vegas, make enough to start my own business, and never work for anyone else ever again.

One crazy weekend about three years ago, Gina and I headed out there to make it happen. I went there with only five thousand in my pocket, borrowed mostly from friends and family, but managed to leave Sin City with six figures. The pizza parlor opened six months later. And if I had kept my word and given up gambling altogether, went straight like Gina begged, I wouldn’t be in this mess I am now.

I couldn’t stay away from the tables, though. It was like a temptress calling to me. Easy money, Tommy, easy money. So easy.

For a while it had been, till my hot streak went ice cold. The restaurant needed money, I needed to make it a success so I could finally give Gina all she deserved: the huge diamond ring, the big wedding, the house behind gates in the suburbs. She deserved it all and more. So I found a way to stay in the game, past when I should have known to get out.

First I borrowed from the wrong loan shark, then I started working for him. I know, real smart, right?

I take bets for Mickey ‘the Mountain’ Panazzo. People call me up and put twenty on The Bears, or one hundred on the Cubbies. Then I got to make sure the winners get paid and the losers pay up. I get two grand a week for this, while the Mountain makes ten times that, at least. I would never skim from him though. I’m not the only bookie he has and I’ve seen what happens when someone loses their job with him- they also lose their ability to breath.

If I can do this side job with him for a few more months, I’ve have enough to get out, sell my pizza joint, move out to Indiana where all the mini-mansions are popping up, and start over, just me and my girl. Gina can give up her job at the radio station and be a stay at home mom like she dreams. I can be the hero she thought I was.

I might not even tell Eric where I live once we move. I can’t have him showing up, all high and wasted, smelling like the sewer, when I have kids running around the house.

Or maybe he will straighten out before then. Maybe I should help him. Get him in rehab finally. I did tell Ma I would never turn my back on him.

Ring. Ring.

I stop typing on the computer, where I was filing out invoices for work, and reach for the portable phone I usually keep on the desk next to me when I am in my study. But it’s not there. I realize I put it back on its charger in the kitchen. Jogging out into the living room I never make it to the phone, because I spot a hundred dollar bill laying on the ground.

My eyes dart back to my bedroom. The door is open. My heart jumps into my throat. I only shoved the money under my bed because someone knocked on the door and I didn’t have time to put it back in the safe in the closet. Then my mind got consumed with my older brother and his idea that he should squat in my home for who the hell knows how long- a weekend, he said, yeah right.

My feet nearly slide out from under me as I race into my bedroom.

He didn’t, I think frantically, He couldn’t have.....

I throw myself on the floor, to look under my bed, and then I have my answer: he did. My brother has screwed me over big time, the duffle bag of money is gone. Damn you, Eric.


  • At 11/08/2007 11:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Like the way you show it from the brother's perspective :)

    I come from a family of gamblers, and the temptation--yes it's always there

    Deathbed promises are never legally binding as they're made to pick up spirits, but morally....

  • At 11/08/2007 11:39:00 AM, Blogger poefusion said…

    Go Cubbies! I can't wait to see what happens next. Those brothers are going to have it out, I bet. I willing to say that the deathbed promise is not what he's thinking about now. Keep up the good work.

    Have a nice day.

  • At 11/08/2007 11:51:00 AM, Blogger TC said…

    I liked hearing Eric's side of the story. Puts the whole thing in a better light. Very interesting.

    I'm assuming you're going to continue this :)

  • At 11/08/2007 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Tumblewords: said…

    I hadn't a clue? Did I? This is moving rapidly, well and with lots of tension. Anxious for the next part...

  • At 11/09/2007 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Marie said…

    That's really good. Lots of tension and intrigue. Hope to read more.

  • At 11/13/2007 09:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is getting very interesting...both brothers in really bad shape..what next?


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